Intense Second Period, Penalties Too Much for Syracuse Ice Hockey
By David Edelstein
CitrusTV Ice Hockey Reporter
In a weekend series already full of strong emotions from Friday’s 3-2 overtime win, the intensity was even stronger on Saturday as Syracuse (5-17-1, 5-5-0 College Hockey America) and Robert Morris (9-11-4, 7-2-1) fought it out—sometimes literally—in an SU 5-1 matinee loss that was moved two hours earlier due to a stow storm.
Following a strong first period, the Orange faced five minor penalties and a 10-minute misconduct penalty, totaling 20 penalty minutes in period two compared to the Colonials’ four minutes.
“It’s killer… We have to right the ship in the discipline category,” Head Coach Paul Flanagan said. “We’ll worry about the tactical aspects of things later, but is starts with our discipline or lack thereof.”
Senior defenseman Allie Munroe was called for slashing and boarding, then sophomore forward Emma Polaski for roughing and the misconduct for pushing a player to the ice after the whistle was blown, then redshirt junior defenseman Lindsay Eastwood for elbowing, then sophomore defenseman Jessica DiGirolamo for interference. At one point, three Syracuse players were in the penalty box at the same time.
“Yeah, I mean, that definitely hurt us today, being in the box,” Eastwood said. “They’re just one after another, and it’s really hard to play hockey when we’re a man down.”
“Especially myself, I was undisciplined tonight, and it’s unacceptable,” Munroe said. “I’m going to get back to work in practice and try to really focus on that. I’m pretty disappointed in myself.”
Robert Morris took advantage of the opportunities, scoring two power play goals within two minutes.
With quick, back and forth play in the second that resulted in 51 total shots where Robert Morris led 14-9 in shots on goal, tensions were high, and players on both teams often edged each other on and exchanged words, even mockingly waving goodbye to a player when she eventually skated back to her team’s bench.
SU had commanded the Robert Morris zone in the first period. The Orange set up scoring chances and saw open lanes but did not find the back of the net. Syracuse’s defense took away the puck and had the advantage on odd man rushes, leading the period 9-5 in shots on goal and 17-8 on total shots.
“I wouldn’t say we dominating, but I thought we looked really good,” Flanagan said. “We really answered the bell.”
On a power play late in the first period, Syracuse continued to stay strong, but during the effort, Emma Polaski was called for a hooking penalty. With 1:00 left in period one, the faceoff was moved across the ice to the Syracuse zone. Eight seconds into the four-on-four, Natalie Marcuzzi scored to give the Colonials a 1-0 lead heading into the first intermission.
From there, it snowballed.
“Once they got that first one, you could see the momentum shifted. Big time,” Flanagan said. “What was working for us in the first, and then we just self destructed in the second.”
“We just lost our focus, and we lost the game in the second for sure, and we just couldn’t find our way back,” Munroe said.
“We were good in the first period, and we should have gone off that, but [we didn’t],” senior goalie Maddi Welch said.
In total, five Syracuse players took turns in the penalty box for a combined 26 minutes on nine penalties. Munroe and Polaski each had three minors.
“The frustration took over, and I think that’s a huge reason why we lost tonight,” Munroe said.
The Orange also mentioned the positives of the weekend, which included winning their first game at home this season on Friday and playing strong minutes against a first-place CHA team that is consistently regarded as one of the conference’s best.
“We just need to go back to work. I think we’re all on the same page,” said Munroe. “We’re going to be better on Monday, all of us.”
Syracuse looks to rebound at home on Friday at 7:00 p.m. against Penn State. The Orange won both games on the road at the Nittany Lions in November, their last non-exhibition wins prior to this Friday’s overtime victory.
firstname.lastname@example.org | @DavidZEdelstein